Monday, 3 August 2009

Dawdling down the Dordogne

Dawdling down the Dordogne!

On the way to the Dordogne, we called in at the little town of Lauzerte, about an hour away from Caroline’s, and packed with Roman and medieval architecture. France is so old! In the garden area, there are a number of little “Tapis” or rugs made out of various beautifully coloured ceramics, the work of Jacques Buchholtz. .Stunning views over the rolling hills beyond.
On increasingly busy roads to the southern Dordogne. I could feel the relaxation of the last few days starting to unravel. We camped on a very large, busy site complete with swimming pool and hefty tariff! We set off on a cycle ride, passing beautiful chateaux and running alongside the languid river Dordogne, but unfortunately competing with a lot of traffic. The busiest place we’ve been so far! But we decided to book a canoe trip for early the following morning, which would take us past the awesome La Roque -Gageac.
We set off early before the river became very busy and pootled down the Dordogne in the canoe. We’d booked it for half a day, at 27euros. Good value we thought afterwards, because it’s the only stress-free way to see this area in Summer, when the roads are thronged with tourists. La Roque-Gageac, visually stunning, with its ochre-coloured houses sheltering under dramatically overhanging cliffs. It’s described in the Lonely Planet as “almost too perfect”, and I agree totally. It’s almost too neat and scrubbed up for the tourists, and is a regular winner of France’s prettiest village contest. We dawdled down, watching the river flowing gently, and the water birds dipping and diving. Superb way to gaze slowly at the chateaux. In fact, there’s little need to paddle, just letting the river do the job. You canoe downstream and then catch a minibus back. Fantastic!!
Got back to our miserable pitch in the dirt, and even though we’d paid we left rapidly and decided to head back to a quieter area!

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